Have you ever taken an objective look at your level of spiritual maturity? Have you ever embarked on a period of spiritual introspection? At least four New Testament passages identify an association between the Greek words nepios and teleios. The former is translated into the English word “infant,” while the latter denotes someone who is mature. The contrast between the two words should not be interpreted as evil versus good, because every believer after being saved goes through a period of spiritual infancy — not to mention that we all act immature at times, no matter our age in Christ; complete sanctification only occurs when we go to be with the Lord. In this week’s study, I will attempt to investigate with clarity and insight what the Scriptures reveal as the delineators between spiritual immaturity and maturity. We will study the passages that provide a clear and striking contrast; my purpose is to drive home the necessity of personal, continued spiritual growth in the life of every public servant and believer. The bottom line of these passages — and this study — is this: One should not remain in a state of spiritual immaturity! Unfortunately, in American Christianity, the vast majority of believers are characterized by spiritual immaturity. This is so sad, and it ought not be! How long have you known Christ as Lord and Savior? If it’s been a good while, do you nevertheless remain in a spiritual fog? Solomon, in his Old Testament book of Proverbs, calls such people simpletons. The underlying Hebrew word for simple means “an open door.” More literally, “one who can’t keep things in or out.” The psalmist says in response, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (19:7). The Apostle Paul called believers in the church of Corinth infants: “I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men but … as to infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 NASB). Paul made the point that even though they were saved, he couldn’t communicate with them in a manner normal for mature Christians speaking with mature Christians. Instead, he had to speak to them as men of flesh, as to infants in Christ: “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it” (1 Corinthians 3:2). Milk contrasted with solid food is a fitting picture of the believer’s inability to digest a square meal of the Word of God. At an alarming, ever-increasing rate, American believers today are becoming similar to non-discerning simpletons, children who want candy and dessert versus a regular, nutritious meal that will supply their real needs for strong, healthy growth. They like carbs, not protein. That’s to say this: The mature in Christ dine regularly not only on the Word, but on commentaries, systematic theologies, church histories, Christian biographies, exegetically-based sermons, etc. How are your spiritual reading and listening habits? How is your theological library coming along? Do you listen to anemic preachers who tickle your ears with the drum of narcissistic self-help messages or to those who challenge you to grapple with the depths of Scripture, the whole counsel of God? Metaphorically, every serious believer needs to constantly be in the weight room, downing protein shakes and watching his carb intake — especially today given what’s going on in our nation! We need strong-in-Christ public servants, not a bunch of ignorant simpletons! The same goes for our citizenry. Since it is living and active, Scripture has the power to transform a believer from infancy to adulthood to the degree he allows it to renew his mind. Therefore, renewal and transformation are tantamount to knowing and obeying the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs the believer to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Certainly, spiritual growth is more than a quest for knowledge, but it is nothing less! You may already be asking yourself the question, “How does one grow out of spiritual infancy and into spiritual maturity?” Romans 12:1-2 spells out the means:
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”As seen in this passage, spiritual growth occurs when you are transformed by the renewing of your mind. And the renewing of your mind happens at the rate at which you learn the Scriptures — and obey them. Remember, Scripture states of itself in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” No diet of the Word, no spiritual growth. Do you in any way block the Word from transforming you? Is the Word or the world preeminent in your thinking? As you read this study, ask yourself which characteristics identify you and then learn from Scripture how you may grow in the faith to become a spiritually mature Christian as God intends you to be! He purchased your being at a huge cost to himself, so don’t show up for the job malnourished! America is in desperate need of mature-in-Christ men and women both in office and in the citizenry. Read the full Bible study, “Differentiating Between Spiritual Infancy and Maturity,” as taught in our House, Senate and former White House Cabinet member D.C. Bible studies. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.